Aprilfest Day 2

Sunday was a much earlier day than Saturday.  Somehow I managed to find 2 volunteers in Janna and Rachel who were willing to get up in time to leave the barn at 6:00am.

When we got there, I was told that since I rode the day before all I needed to do was show the vets my card from the day before to transfer the info.  Sue had left the card at home, so we had to vet again.  This was proof that everything happens for a reason! Poor Foxy had a very tender back and made sour faces at the lightest touch.  Its a good thing we did vet!

But that meant I wouldn’t be going out on my 25 mile ride.  Thinking back to last year, I was also supposed to do 25 at Dufferin on Abby, but had to pull because she was shivering so much we couldn’t get her heart rate under control.  I feel destined to never complete a 25 mile ride at dufferin!

Instead, I helped pit crew for Linda and Mike since they were still able to ride.

Easy was not being easy for Mike, he was really upset that his girlfriend wasn’t coming along for the ride.  She got taken home immediately after he started his first loop, since she also wouldn’t settle.  On the hold, Easy seemed to calm down a little (he was being awful when he came in!) when he realized there was no mare back at the campsite that he was leaving behind.  I think Mike had a better loop the second time around.

I didn’t stick around for the awards, since I wasn’t riding I didn’t need to wait around for a ribbon and that meant I could take Bentley out in the afternoon!  So I am not sure how they ended up placing.  Linda completed with a Grade 2!

Funny coincidence, Sue and Mike’s son (who was helping out that day) works at Air Georgian… 2 hangars away from me.  I know both the aviation and horse worlds are small, but they rarely overlap.  But then again, I seem to know lots of people in the aviation industry before either of us had any involvement in it.

Since I had my afternoon free, I conducted my own mini Aprilfest for Bentley.  We went for a nice walk down to the plateau, with Lee following with his chair and a picnic.  He was being pretty feisty, probably due to the lack of work he has had recently.  His paddock is pretty small and he needs to burn off that energy!   We eventually found our groove and he was happy to trot and canter nicely.  I haven’t been cantering him recently because he keeps choosing it, not me, but this time I let him and practised steering.  We started pretty fast, but he is pretty nimble and was able to make ok circles.  He was listening to me, which usually isn’t the case when we canter outside, and I got creative and changed the size of the circles every so often and he followed nicely.  In the past, he has gotten faster and faster and started ignoring my commands to steer.  As I said, it was faster than my comfort zone on him, but I am starting to trust him more and will accept this gait for now. 

We also worked a lot on the trot.  He has a tendency of getting on his forehand while going straight, speeding up and then trying to break into the canter.  So I rode him very alertly and was able to bring him back AND increase our speed without falling into the canter.  I was glancing at my garmin, and I saw 10.5 mph at a good trot.  We were doing about 8 in our easy fun ride trot.  He takes such long strides, once we get the muscles developed and our communication working, I think we will end up with a VERY POWERFUL trot.

We got about 5 miles in, went up the stairs, and then the big green monster appeared and I came very close to being dumped.  The farmer was working on the cornfields with his tractor, and Bentley was not having anything to do with it. 

We tried going back down to the plateau where it was out of sight, but it came along our side of the fields and could be seen through the trees, and he just wouldn’t calm down.  So for safety sake, I got off and walked him back to the barn. 

I wasn’t yet ready to stop riding, so we did some more ring work… boosting our mileage up to about 9 miles.  We did some small jumps and did a nice little jumping course.  The first time we went around, the striding was off as we entered our second jump and we knocked down literally ALL the jumps.  So I tried a few more times, and eventually he seemed to click that all the nonsense happening above him had some relevance.  We ended up finding the sweet spot and had a good 2 or 3 perfect jumps.

At this point in time, my sister Heather came out with Rurik to ride.  We decided to go down in the valley since the tractor was still plowing the fields.  We walked close to the river, Bentley was concerned about the sounds of water at first, but proceeded along the edge (or 10 feet away from the edge that is!)  We came across some mean geese who were hissing at us… there was no completing that loop!  Darn, I really wanted to measure those distances to add to the mileage maps.  Next time!

As we headed back, Heather wanted to bring Rurik to the creek crossing to offer him a drink.  I wasn’t going to push Bentley since he has always been so afraid of tiny puddles and streams and just waited at the side.  Looking at it is an achievement in itself.  Rurik plowed right into the water an wanted to go right through.  So on a whim, i turned Bentley’s nose toward it and thought “go”.  Didn’t even have to tap him with my legs, he was into the creek!

I was so stunned, I almost forgot to congratulate him!  The water was easily 3 feet deep where he went in… the deepest part of the crossing.  And he didn’t care at all.  Best theory I have is that he wont cross puddles because they are murky, but creek is ok because he can see the bottom? 

This opened up all sorts of possible places for us to ride.  We chose to do the big hill, and go through some treed trails.  Bentley didn’t want to lead, but had no questions when Rurik went through.  I had trouble keeping B off Ruriks butt, especially since Rurik has previously made it clear that he isn’t friends with Bentley, but they both stayed friendly with their ears forward!  We crossed the creek to go back home and again, no issues at all!

Overall Bentley got 10.9 miles on Sunday. 


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